Monday, April 25, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Revolutionary War Pension File Affidavit of Joseph Champlin (1758-1850)

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started a Monday blog theme many months ago called Amanuensis Monday. What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

The subject today is an affidavit filed by Joseph Champlin (1758-1850) of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, who was put on the roll of pensioners on 16 August 1833 at age 73, and received an annual pension of $50, commencing 4 March 1834.  He applied at South Kingstown on 18 July 1833.  The affidavit taken by the Justice of the Peace in the pension application (Revolutionary War Pension File S21,693, accessed on is shown below:

The transcription of the affidavit is:

"Washington, State of Rhode Island & Providence Plantation, South Kingstown, July 18th, 1833:

"Personally appeared before me, the undersigned a Justice of the Peace in the town of South Kingstown and State of Rhode Island, Joseph Champlin of South Kingstown aforesaid who is an applicant for a pension who being duly sworn before it and saith that by reason of old age and the consequent loss of memory he can not swear positively as to the precise length of his service but according to the best of his recollection he served not less than the periods mentioned below in the following grades:

"For & in the year 1775 one month I served as a private in Capt. Samuel Segar's company of militia.

"In the year 1776 two months as a private in Capt. Samuel Potter's company of militia, omitted see the original declaration of the draftsman.

"In the year 1777 five months I served as a private in Capt. Samuel Potter's company of Militia.

"In the year 1778 one month I served as a private in Capt. Timothy Lock's Company of Militia in Col. Charles Dyer's regiment in Sullivan's expedition under the command of Gen. Sullivan on Rhode Island.

"In the year 1780 six months as a private in Capt. Daniel Dexter's company in the Continental Army, the regiment commanded by Col. Green. Samuel Hurd Lieut. Col. and ---- Flagg Major of the regiment.
Making in the whole fifteen months and for such service I claim a pension.

"Witness W. Updike  .................................... his
to J. Champlin's signature ................. Joseph   +   Champlin
................................................................... mark

State of Rhode Island & Washington Co., So. Kingstown July 18th, 1833

"Personally appeared Joseph Champlin the abovesaid deponent & before deposing as aforesaid was by me carefully cautioned examined & sworn to testify to the truth the whole truth & nothing but the truth. Which said affidavit was by me reduced to writing in his presence and by him agreed in my presence.  I also certify that the said Joseph Champlin is well known to me and retains a fair character for truth ... and that his affidavit is entitled to full & implicit order.

"William Updike, Just. Peace"

This affidavit summarizes Joseph Champlin's memory of his Revolutionary War service.  It doesn't provide any information about his family, nor does any other paper in his Revolutionary War Pension File.  The Justice of the Peace wrote this document, not Joseph Champlin.  There is another paper in the file - a deposition taken in court that is very difficult to read.  One thing I gleaned from this record is that Joseph Champlin was not literate - he made a mark for his name. 

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